PUREWATERCRAFT: A companion app for creating a frictionless leisure boating experience.

Duration July ~ Sep 2020
My Role Research, Ideate, Wireframes
Team Vivian Igunbor, Chloe Lee, Aishwarya Naik, Me

"How might we design a companion app that supports leisure boaters to better experience their boating goals?"



Our client, Pure Watercraft, is a Seattle-based startup with a mission is to provide sustainable electric outboard motors. They wanted to create a companion app for their outboard motor product that could easily transfer data from their users’ outboard motors to the company’s Cloud database. However, they did not know what data to include or what other features their users might like in the companion app.


I partnered with three other HCDE graduate students to investigate our client's current problem and design a prototype and create design guidelines for the Pure Watercraft app. We conducted user interviews, analyzed customer data, and conducted competitive research to identify potential users and their needs to more precisely understand user needs . We then created and tested a prototype of the design. The design is intended to help leisurely boaters more easily plan boating trips, discover interest points and attractions, proactively address maintenance needs, and have greater visibility into the system status of their electric boats.


For Pure Watercraft, the new experience reduced troubleshooting and support calls from customers experiencing boat repair issues and provided the company with more insights into the types of repairs customers most often struggle with.

From the customer experience perspective,
the new app helped boaters save time and money on repairs and maintenance. With real-time visibility in their boat system status, customers could more quickly diagnose and resolve issues. It also reduced the frequency customers needed to go to repair shops, as they could more proactively address concerns rather than discovering them when the issues had gotten too big. Also by having additional feature, users no longer have to worry about juggling multiple platforms to plan their trip, the app takes care of that need.

View Design process!

Key Features

feature 1

Trip planning

This feature allows users to build their trip, view saved trips and points of interests. The app also gives boaters to select from recommended routes.

feature 2

Explore Your Interests

This feature enables users to browse and save favorite destinations and points of interests. The app also gives boaters relevant information such as weather conditions on the water, GPS information specific to waterways (e.g. areas they cannot pass through, rocky zones)

feature 3

Check Outboard Motor System Remotely

Typically boaters don’t know much about the boat’s engine. When issues arise, they need to take the boat to the shop to diagnose and make repairs. By giving the customers visibility into the issue right away, the customer can skip the diagnosis stage and go straight to solving the issue. Pure Watercraft can also identify issues remotely and proactively inform customers of possible concerns or maintenance they should take care of.

Research Methods

Comparative Analysis

I conducted a comparative analysis in order to understand current companion apps that were offered by existing competitors and how they visualize their motor system for diagnostics and updates.

Key Findings

  • Boaters do not have a comprehensive source to plan and save their trip.
  • More than one platform to plan the segments of their trip makes inconsistency causes frustration  as they have to juggle between multiple sources while planning their trip.
  • Users desired a way to monitor the health of their motor in order to prevent unexpected breakdowns.
"There was something special about getting to actually go somewhere and accomplish something rather than just enjoying water activities."
- Sailor from the interview



After ideation, we decided to build our design interface based on 3 main features: Trip planning, Explore points of interest, and motor health. I was responsible for how to design the interface of motor health. Below is an example of sketches that I created for the low-fidelity wireframe.

Next Steps

usability testing

Usability tests were not in scope due to the short amount of time we had for the project and our client wanted us to provide them with research findings and low-fidelity wireframes. If we had a chance to further develop this companion app, conducting several rounds of usability tests and iterate on our design should be considered to make better results for the user goals and satisfaction.

What I Learned

Importance of research

I learned that the research is an important method for finding and understanding subconscious and conscious user goals and this brought our team to build an experience that satisfies latent needs.